|Collaged tag with custom rubber
stamp by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.
I never thought of using photos as the basis for rubber stamp carving until I saw how Julie Fei-Fan Balzer created a tag collage using a hand-carved portrait stamp.
You use the same technique for carving a custom rubber stamp from a photo as you do for other designs. But choosing and preparing the photo and image is crucial to success, according to Julie in her book Carve Stamp Play: Designing and Creating Custom Stamps.
Here are some tips for selecting a photo that will make a good rubber stamp:
- The photos that work best have a strong source of light from one direction that creates distinct shadowing.
- Facial features should be well defined and not washed out.
- The photo should be in focus.
- The photo should be high quality. Photos downloaded from the Internet don't work as well as photos straight from your camera.
- The photos that work best include the subject's entire head (including the top of the head) and some of his or her shoulders.
To prepare the image using photo-editing software, follow Julie's instructions:
(Note: These instructions are for Photoshop CS6. Other image-editing programs have similar functions. You might simply need to play around a bit to find what works.)
|Julie erased the background (and additional person) from the photo, then adjusted it to highlight the shadows.|
1. Convert the photo to black and white: Image > Adjustments > Black & White.
2. Erase any extraneous background using the Eraser and Crop tools (figure 2).
3. If necessary, darken the photo a bit with the Curves tool: Image > Adjustments > Curves.
4. Visit the Filter Gallery: Filter > Filter Gallery.
5. Choose the Cutout Filter: Artistic > Cutout. Keep the number of layers to 2 or 3 and then press "okay." (figure 3).
If you don't have access to image-editing software, you can create a design by hand. Place a piece of tracing paper over the photo and carefully trace the shadowed edges.
The stamp itself makes a great gift, or you can use it to personalize stationery, invitations, or gift tags.
Now I know how I'm going to be using my family photos in the next few weeks: using stamping techniques from Carve Stamp Play.
P.S. How would you use a portrait stamp? Leave your answer below.